Deception Pass - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

July 29, 2020

Deception Pass

After almost a month in Bellingham, we’ve biked roughly a thousand miles on about 25 day rides that cover much of western Whatcom and northern Skagit Counties.  I’m feeling like we’ve gotten a pretty thorough look by now and that we must have made it to most of the roads worth exploring.  Over coffee this morning though I look again and find one we’ve missed so far - the ride out to Deception Pass.  

Rachael and I have biked across the Deception Pass Bridge before, on a ride from Seattle to Bellingham three summers ago.  Well, actually we walked across the bridge.  It’s a scary crossing, and the highway just north of the bridge is even scarier - narrow, shoulderless, blind curves, heavy traffic, huge trucks.  We have no wish or plan to bike across it again, and it was unpleasant enough that I’ve blocked out biking in that direction at all.

Today though I look again and see a loop ride that circles much of Fidalgo Island and takes us down near to but not over the bridge.  It looks fine on paper, and by starting at Padilla Bay we’ll get one more shot at seeing river otters again and one more ride across Fidalgo Bay to Anacortes on that beautiful trestle bridge we rode across last week. 

Hey!  I forgot for a minute there, but I’m supposed to be on a blog break.  I quit.  Nice ride, nice weather, nice nearly everything - if you don’t count a short rocky scramble between Rosario Beach and Bowman Bay, and about a mile on Route 20 north of the Deception Pass Bridge that was nearly as scary today as it was last time.  No otters either today, but we did pass a doe and her spotty charge trying to cross the road just in front of us.  The doe made it across safely but the fawn was trapped on the wrong side for awhile, looking for a gap between the passing cars and bikes.  For a second we were afraid she was going to leap out right in front of us.

That’s it for today though - I’m going back on break.  Look at some photos, and come back tomorrow.  Maybe I’ll post something, and maybe I won’t.

Looking across Padilla Bay to March Point. Beyond, it looks like Fidalgo Bay is still fogbound.
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45 minutes later, we cross Fidalgo Bay and see that the fog has receded further.
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The view northeast across Fidalgo Bay.
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South of Anacortes on Heart Lake Road. For two or three miles we bike through mixed forest, climbing over a shoulder of Mount Erie. The woods are a public parkland/community forest owned by the city of Anacortes.
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Heart Lake, one of several small lakes surrounding Mount Erie.
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The other Lake Erie, with the edge of Mount Erie on the right.
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Are we lost? Washington’s Lake Erie and its mountain were named after the Battle or Lake Erie in the war of 1812.
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Rosario Beach, in Deception Pass State Park. When we arrived the bay was still masked by a rapidly clearing blanket of fog.
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Looking across from Rosario Beach. This is taken from the same spot as the photo above, but about fifteen minutes later. We were lucky to arrive before the fog had burned off completely.
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At Rosario Beach: Ko-kwahl-alwoot, the Maiden of Deception Pass. According to Samish legend, she saved her people from starvation by agreeing to marry a man from under the sea.
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Looking across Bowman Bay. This bay and Rosario Beach are separated by the slender neck of Rosario Head.
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Looking across Bowman Bay.
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Jen GrumbyOh, I wish I were out there in a kayak!

The water looks so calm and inviting.
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5 days ago
On Bowman Bay.
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Rather than climbing up to the highway again, we decided to bike/walk the short trail along the water between Rosario Beach and Bowman Bay. Avoid some climbing and save a little time, I tell gullible Rocky. We didn’t bike much at all and we didn’t save any time either. A colorful walk though.
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Bowman Bay.
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Looking south down Skagit Bay. Deception Pass is off the frame to the right, and the land on the right is Whidbey Island.
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An old schoolhouse from the looks of it, on Reservation Road in the Swinomish Reservation.
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Rainbow Bridge, connecting the mainland and Fidalgo Island at La Conner. It’s really a pretty arched bridge, and we should have taken the time to get a look from below.
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Looking south along the Swinomish Channel from the Rainbow Bridge.
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La Conner, from the Rainbow Bridge.
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Back at Padilla a bay again, at high tide. Compare this photo to the first one in the post.
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Back at the parking lot. Rachael is hot and wishes I’d get on with loading the bikes into the car, but the Straggler insisted on posing next to this weathered wooden wall.
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Ride stats today: 45 miles, 2,200’

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